Chapter Five — The Way Ahead

The 2021-2022 reporting period marks a critical period in the military justice system’s continuing journey of evolution and reform. It was a year during which significant groundwork was accomplished to obtain the approvals needed to bring the remaining provisions of Bill C-77Footnote 1  and its supporting regulations into force, and through the tabling of the Report of the Third Independent Review Authority to the Minister of National DefenceFootnote 2  with 64 recommendations relating directly to military justice and receipt of the interim recommendationsFootnote 3  from the Independent External Comprehensive Review of the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed ForcesFootnote 4  (IECR), the course was plotted for potentially monumental future changes to the military justice system. The ongoing evolution of the military justice system involves a multi-year journey that will require continued effort and support from the Office of the JAG and its partners to reach its destination.

Over the reporting period, the Office of the JAG worked tirelessly to advance the growth and evolution of the military justice system over several lines of effort – investments that will bare fruit over future reporting periods. It worked alongside its partners in the Defence Team and the Department of Justice, to complete all steps needed to implement Bill C-77 along with its associated regulations and policies, which we know occurred outside the reporting period on 20 June 2022. The implementation of Bill C-77 brings several fundamental changes to the military justice system including the establishment of the Declaration of Victims Rights, the retirement of summary trials, and the establishment of a new summary hearing process.

At the same time, the Office of the JAG advanced the Superintendence Enhancement and Assessment Project (SEAP), making a pivot in the development of the Justice Administration and Information Management System (JAIMS) to ensure alignment with the changes expected with Bill C-77 implementation and commenced the significant, painstaking work involved with studying each of the Third Independent Review’s military justice related recommendations to identify the steps to be taken in relation to each. Updates on each of these important and highly complex initiatives will also be provided in the 2022-2023 Annual Report.

With regard to the IECR, which was launched on 29 April 2021, we are aware as we write this report that the IECR’s final report was issued outside the reporting period in May of 2022. We are also aware that during the 2022-2023 reporting period, the Office of the JAG will continue to support the Defence Team to ensure that the recommendations of the IECR and other external reviews are fully considered, and implementation is pursued in a deliberate, synchronized, coherent and phased manner.

Further to the evolution and reform of the military justice system that will arise from statutory, regulatory and policy change, the healthy growth of the system that occurs as a result of decisions at the court martial and appellate court levels can have a similarly important influence on its advancement. At this time we are aware that cases were heard outside the reporting period by both the Supreme Court of Canada and the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada; these cases, the decisions rendered and the impact of those decisions for the continuing evolution of the military justice system will be explored in the 2022-2023 Annual Report.


To remain relevant and maintain the trust and confidence of Canadians and the Canadian Armed Forces, the military justice system must be agile; it must respond to the evolving Canadian legal and social environment, and it must quickly and decisively embrace needed change. The Office of the JAG is fully committed as a partner to the broader institution and will be unflinching in its continuing support to the Minister of National Defence and the Defence Team in the effort to achieve the necessary evolution of the military justice system and allow it to hold the confidence of the Canadian Armed Forces, its members, and the Canadian public.

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